East bank of the Nile
Upper Egypt - 20 km north of Hermopolis
|Nome||Oryx - the 16th Nome of Upper Egypt|
|Type of Settlement||Necropolis|
|Historical Development||- The limestone cliffs were used as a necropolis during the Middle Kingdom, with 39 catacombs of regional
Nobles of the Oryx Nome dating from c.1991-1786 BC
- Of the 39 tombs on the upper part of the cliff, only 12 were decorated. The tombs vary in size, but lies on a row parallel to the Nile's eastern bank.
- These tomb provide information about the distinctive style of mortuary art characteristic of the early Middle Kingdom with their colorfully painted scenes of daily life
- Beni Hasan is one of the few Middle Kingdom architectural sites that survived the massive reconstruction of the New Kingdom
Most of the tombs have a similar layout, with a carved entrance, and then a large room containing painted decorations and burial shafts, followed by a small niche.
The tomb of Baqet is the oldest, The north wall of the tomb has many painted scenes depicting Baqet and his life in the provincial community, including the desert hunt with many types of animals.
The tomb of Kheti is dedicated to the son of Baqet. The wall paintings here are most interesting in the respect that they show everyday scenes from the Middle Kingdom, with harvests of wine grapes and papyrus, as well as pleasures of music and dancing. Khety and his wife are shown presiding over the activities and watch women dancing and playing sports. The ceiling is erected on lotus -shaped columns.
The tomb of Amenemhet, is more elaborate than the earlier tombs. Amenemhet was the last holder of the hereditary title 'Great Overlord of the Province of the Oryx' at a time when the government of Egypt was once more becoming more centralized. The architecture of Amenemhet's tomb differs from the earlier style by having a courtyard and a portico with two columns before the entrance to the tomb-chapel. It has a false door towards west, which is the direction through which the dead was believed to enter the underworld. On the walls are depictions of happenings from Amenemhet's life, but most scenes show what was expected for his afterlife.
Khnumhotep's tomb follows the architectural style of Amenemhet's, with four polygonal columns in the tomb-chapel behind the impressive fa?de and portico. The same themes are continued in the wall decoration too, but the scenes are more colorful and lively and make this perhaps the most interesting and distinctive of the Beni Hasan tombs.